LISTEN: “Dem Sebun Wimmin” / Those Seven Women, Part 2 (“He Being Dead Yet Speaketh” with Daniel Whyte III)

John Jasper
John Jasper

Listen as Daniel Whyte III covers this message from the famous slave preacher, John Jasper, in the slave dialect as well as in updated modern English. (Click here to listen to part 1.)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

Today, I am continuing the He Being Dead Yet Speaketh Podcast series with the second part of a sermon by John Jasper titled “Dem Sebun Wimmin” or “Those Seven Women”. In this series, I am covering the sermons of great preachers of the past who we do not have the privilege of hearing today because they did not have the technology to record their messages back then.

According to William E. Hatcher and Mary J. Bratton, John Jasper is arguably one of the most famous black ministers of the nineteenth-century who gained popularity for his electrifying preaching style and his ability to spiritually move both black and white Baptists. He began his career in the early 1840s, preaching at funerals of slave and free black parishioners and giving occasional sermons at the First African Baptist Church. His popularity grew quickly and not only among those in Richmond, VA. After giving a guest sermon to the Third African Baptist Church in the nearby city of Petersburg, Jasper was invited by that congregation to preach every Sunday. Jasper’s accomplishments are even more remarkable given the fact that he was a slave in the tobacco factories and iron mills of Richmond during the first 25 years of his ministry work during a time when Virginia law expressly prohibited blacks from preaching. Following the Civil War, Jasper became a full-time pastor and in 1867 organized the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, ministering to hundreds of local black Baptists, but many whites as well. His sermons continued to attract eager audiences, but none seem to draw more listeners than his famous discourse, “De Sun Do Move” given in 1878. Jasper’s work extended far beyond preaching to the devoted and attempted to minister to all black Richmonders. The Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church became active in providing community services including aid to the elderly and the destitute. Jasper continued in this capacity until 1901 at the age of 88, after half a century of serving God.

First, I will share the original version of the remainder of this message in the slave dialect and then the same message in modern updated English.

“But wat gits me arter all iz a man. I see ‘im in de quiet uv de day,- -de Sabbuth day. He teks a strole fer de koolin’ uv hiz mine, erwearin uv hiz nice cloes, an’ feelin’ lik a new man in de City Kounsil; de fust thing he know’d a lady glide up ter ‘im an’ put her han’ lite on hiz arm. He jump ‘roun’ an’ she say, mity flush’d up, ‘skuse me!’

“He see at wunst she er lady, but he wuz kinder lo’ in hiz sperrit, an’ yit he wish in hiz hart dat she had gon ter de udder en uv de rode, but he want ter hear her out.

“She tel ‘im de site uv a man wuz medsin fer bad eyes, dat nurly all uv ’em wuz cut down in de war an’ dat in konsquens it wuz er lonesum time fer wimmin; dey hev nobody now ringin’ de do’ bells in de eebnin; no boys sendin’ ’em flowers an’ ‘fekshuns; no sweetarts tekin’ ’em walkin’ on Sunday afternoons, an’ weddins gwine out er fashun. An’ dis ain’t de wust uv it. It mek us shamed. De wives,–dey purrades ‘roun’ an’ brags ’bout dere’ole mans’ an’ cuts der eye at us skornful; an’ de husban’s iz mity nigh es bad, erpokin’ fun at us an’ axin erbout de chillun.

“She say yer needn ‘ think we’re crazy ter marry; tain’t dat, an’ tain’t dat we want yer ter ‘sport us,–no, no! We hev money an’ kin funnish our own vittuls an’ cloes, an’ we kin wuk; but it iz dat reproach dey kas’ on us, de wear an’ tear uv bein ‘ laff’d at dat cuts us so deep. Ef I cud be Mrs. Sumbody,–had sum proof dat I had de name uv sum un,–sumthin’ ter rub off de reproach. Dat’s it,–dis ding-dongin’ uv de fokes at me.

“De man wuz pale es linnin, an’ wuz hopin’ ter ansur, but fo’ de wud floo frum his lips ernudder ‘omun hooked ‘im on de ter side. Mursy uv de Lord! two uv ’em had’im an’ it luk lik dey wuz gwine ter rip ‘im in tew an’ each tek a haf. De las’ wun tel her tale jes’ lik de fust wun an’ wuss. She brung in tears es part uv her argurmint, an’ de ter wun got fretted an’ used wuds dat wud hev konkurred ‘im ef jes’ den two mo’,–two mo’, mine yer, mekin’ fo’ in all, hed not kum up an’ gits er grip on de gemmun, an’ hiz eyes luk lik dey’d pop out his hed;–wun on each side an’ two ter hiz face, an’ it seems he gwine ter faint.

” ‘Yer ladiz ,’ he says, ‘may be rite in yer ‘thuzasm, but yer iz too menny. Up ter dis time I hev bin shy uv wun, but ef I cud be erlowed ter choose jes’ wun I mite try it.’

“Den de fo’ wimmins begun ter git shaky wen a nur wun sailed in,–dat’s five, den ernudder; dat’s six, and den wun mo’ — SEBUN!

“Luk, will yer! Sevun got wun man. It izn’t sed wedder de wimmin wuz fer a partnurship wid de man es de kapertul, or wedder each uv ’em hoped ter beat out de udder six; but wun thing we know an’ dat iz dat de po’ man iz in de low grounds uv sorrur. Ter my min’, de pikshur iz mity seerus, ebun do it mek us smile. Fur my po’ part, I iz glad we lives in fairer times. In our day mens iz awful plen’ful wid us, tho’ I kin not say dat de qualty iz fust class in ve’y menny. But I thanks de Lord dat mos’ enny nice leddy kin git merrid in dese times ef dey choose, an’ dat wid out gwine out sparkin’ fur de man. I notis dat ef she stay ter home, ten her buznis, min’ her mudder, an’ not sweep de streets too off’n wid her skirts, in de long run her modes’ sperrit will win de day. I ubsurv ernudder thing; de unmerrid lady, de ole maid es sum calls her,–need not hang her haid. Jes’ let her be quiet an’ surv de Lord; jes’ not fret ’bout wat fools says,–dey duz er heep uv talkin’, but it iz lik de cracklin’ uv de burnin’ sticks under de pot, a big fuss an’ a littul heat. Fer my part, I honners de ‘oman dat b’haves hersef, briduls her tongue, duz her wuk, an’ sings es she goes erlong. Her contentid sperrit beats a lazy husbun’ ebry time, an’ mity off’n it brings er gud husbun’ erlong.

“Es fer dese fokes dat flurts an’ skouts at ole maids dey ain’ fitten ter live , an’ ort ter be in de bottum uv Jeems Rivur , ‘cept’n’ dey’d spile de watur. No gemmun nur no lady wud do it.

“Now dis iz my wud ’bout de wimmin, an’ I hope yer lik it, but if yer doant, jes’ ‘member dat Jasper sed it, an’ will stan’ by it, til de cows in de lo’er feil’ kums home.”

That concludes the second part of the sermon DEM SEBUN WIMMIN as it was originally delivered. Now, I will share with you the sermon in updated, modern English.

But what gets me after all is a man. I see him in the quiet of the day — the Sabbath day. He takes a stroll for the cooling of his mind. He’s wearing his nice clothes and feeling like a new man in the City Council. The first thing he knows, a lady glides up to him and puts her hand lightly on his arm. He jumps around and she says, mighty flushed up, “Excuse me!”

He sees at once that she were a lady, but he was kind of low in his spirit, and yet he wished in his heart that she had gone to the other end of the road. But he wanted to hear her out.

She tells him that the sight of a man was medicine for bad eyes, that nearly all of them were cut down in the war and that in consequence it was a lonesome time for women. They have nobody now ringing the doorbells in the evening. No boys sending them flowers and affections. No sweethearts taking them walking on Sunday afternoons. And weddings were going out of fashion. And this ain’t the worst of it. It makes us ashamed. The wives — they parade around and brag about there own man and cuts their eye at us scornfully. And the husbands are mighty nigh as bad — poking fun at us an asking about the children.

She says you need not think we’re crazy to marry, it ain’t that. And it ain’t that we want you to support us — no, no. We have money and can furnish our own food and clothes, and we can work. But it is the reproach they cast on us, the wear and tear of being laughed at, that cuts us so deep. If I could be Mrs. Somebody — had some proof that I had the name of someone — something to rub off the reproach. That’s it — this ding-donging of the folks at me.

The man was pale as he listened, and was hoping to answer, but before the words flowed from his lips, another woman hooked him on the other side. Mercy of the Lord! Two of them had him and it looked like they were going to rip him in two and each take a half. The last one tells her tale just like the first one and worse. She brings in tears as part of her argument, and then got fretful and used words that would have conquered him if not just then two more — two more, mind you, making four in all — had not come up and gets their grip on the gentleman, and his eyes look like they popped out of his head — one on each side and two in his face, and it seems like he’s going to faint.

“You ladies,” he says, “may be right in your enthusiasm, but you are too many. Up until this time I have been shy of one, but if I could be allowed to choose just one I might try it.”

Then the four women begin to get shaky just as another one sailed in — that’s five; then another, that’s six; and then one more — seven!

Look, will you! Seven got one man. it isn’t said whether the women were for a partnership with the man, or whether each of them hoped to beat out the other six, but one thing we know and that is that the poor man is in the low grounds of sorrow. To my mind, the picture is mighty serious even though it makes us smile. For my poor part, I am glad we live in fairer times. In our day, men are awful plentiful with us, although I cannot say that the quality is first class in very many. but I thank the Lord that most any nice lady can get married in these times if they choose, and that is without going out sparking for a man. I notice that if she stays home, tends to her business, minds her mother, and not sweep the streets too often with her skirts, in the long run, her modest spirit will win the day. I observe another thing: the unmarried lady, the old maid as some call her, need not hang her head. Just let her be quiet and serve the Lord; just not fret about what fools say — they do a heap of talking, but it is like the crackling and burning of sticks under the pot — a big fuss and a little heat. For my part, I honor the woman that behaves herself, bridles her tongue, does her work, and sings as she goes along. Her contented spirit beats a lazy husband every time, and mighty often brings her a good husband along.

It is for these folks that flirt and scout at old maids, they ain’t fit to live and ought to be in the bottom of James River except they would spoil the water. No gentleman or lady would do it.

Now this is my word about the women, and I hope you like it. But if you don’t, just remember that Jasper said it and will stand by it ’till the cows in the lower fields come home.

That concludes John Jasper’s sermon, “Those Seven Women”

Some of John Jasper’s theology might not have been as correct or clear as it should have been, but one thing for sure, John Jasper knew the Lord and he was truly a born again Christian.

– – – – – – – – –

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you how you can do that right now:

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless you.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

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